Are you stressed? Stress has become such a common fixture in our modern life, that millions of people are experiencing its unfortunate side effects. Bodies communicate their distress about our schedules, conflicts, overload, and emotional junk by creating headaches, pains, high blood pressure, sleep issues, clenched muscles, and psychosomatic illnesses, to let us know that something is wrong. Stress is reflected in our shallow breathing, which, incidentally, is the most common form of breathing in our society. Since prana, or life force energy, is an intimate component of breath, most people are not receiving enough vital life energy to keep them operating at their best. So let’s BREATHE!
Here is a wonderful Kundalini yoga exercise I teach to release stress. It’s a walking, breathing meditation called Breathwalk. By combining walking, breath, and mantra, Breathwalk can energize you, calm your mind, expand your awareness, and enhance your mood, and add all kinds of health benefits.
1 – WALK For 5 Minutes:
- Begin to walk, keeping your spine straight.
- Inhale deeply to a count of 4, and exhale to a count of 4. Notice that your breath and your steps begin to fall into alignment.
- Silently say to yourself the four universal sounds of Sa Ta Na Ma on both the inhale and the exhale.
- As you repeat these silent sounds, move the fingers of both hands simultaneously, Sa – touching the thumb to index finger, Ta – thumb to middle finger, Na- thumb to ring finger and Ma – thumb to pinky. (Note: press the thumb to each finger with about 5 pounds of pressure.)
- Coordinating your breath, the mantra of Sa Ta Na Ma, and touching your individual fingers with each step keeps your mind busy, and also activates the meridians that are associated with each finger.
2 – RELAX 3 minutes: relax the breath, and resume normal breathing, as you walk. If you are walking with a partner, you may converse.
3 – Repeat step 1 (You can extend the time to 10 minutes if you wish).
4 – Repeat step 2. Walk as long as you wish.
- Scan your body and notice what changes (if any) have occurred.
- How do you feel? Are you calmer? Are you revitalized?
- Have your thoughts shifted?
- Allow the energy to integrate through your body.
Source: Breathwalk by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, PhD., and Yogi Bhajan, PhD, Broadway Books, NY ©2000 by the Kundalini Research Institute